State Sen. Carol Liu teamed up with 10-year-old Gerry Orz on Wednesday to talk about the bullying that plagues local schools.
As a third-grader in the San Gabriel Unified School District last year, Gerry was bullied for having two moms and for being too tall, among other things.
“Kids would kick him to the ground. His pants were torn up,” his mother, Kate Orz, said.
But Gerry didn’t say a word on Wednesday because he had taken a daylong vow of silence to honor those who suffered from bullying this year.
Instead, a recording of his voice told students at Toll Middle School how he reacted to the bullying and eventually came to establish the nonprofit organization Kids Resource.
Now a student at a Palos Verdes school, Gerry hopes the organization will take on the form of a club at various campuses so students can discuss being bullied and support each other in reporting it to adults.
“I didn’t know what to do or who I could trust,” Gerry said of the bullying. “Eventually, I spoke to my parents about it ... No one is born a bully. Bullies also need our help.”
This year, Liu submitted a resolution designating Dec. 12, 2012, as a bullying prevention day in California.
Students across the state were also encouraged Wednesday to remain silent for 12 seconds to honor bullying victims.
“This topic of bullying is very important for all of us,” said Liu, a former school teacher. “Our communities must work together to make sure we stop this harmful behavior.”
Seventh-grader Carmen Cuza wore a shirt Wednesday that read: “I can prevent bullying.”
As a sixth-grader at Toll last year, Cuza was bullied by a group of girls, but she said it came to a stop after she reported it to school administrators.
“It’s nice to know that the administration is here to help me — especially the counselors. They make sure something is done,” she said.
Follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.